Our Dementia Meeting Centre celebrates its first anniversary

With a momentous birthday comes three days of celebration for our Dementia Meeting Centre!

Marking one year of our Meeting Centres opening in Clevedon, Portishead, and Nailsea, we joined together to celebrate in style – with the festivities chosen by our very own members.

In Clevedon, Elvis entered the building thanks to the European Elvis Tribute Artist Champion, Emilio Santoro. An open house that saw friends and partners from Alzheimer’s Society, Vision North Somerset, Wellspring, and Curo attend, we sang and danced along to all the old classics.

“I can’t believe we’ve been open a whole year,” said Anne Ellis, North Somerset’s Meeting Centre Manager, “it was great to have such a fun party, all the members were up and dancing and thoroughly enjoying themselves. We’re so proud of the centres and how they have grown and supported so many people – Elvis was an amazing way of celebrating our achievements!”.

The next day, we set our sights to the skies with a trip to Aerospace Bristol. With several of our members having worked there in their younger years, we exchanged stories and said hello to Concorde before enjoying lunch and a traipse around the museum. The wonderful trip was a ‘Gift in Kind’ funded by a family who had recently lost their beloved mum, Pat. Her son, John, who came along, said; “It was a fitting tribute to my Mum who had dementia in the last few years of her life and it was wonderful to see the smiles on the faces of members and their carers”.

Finishing our celebrations in Nailsea with some delicious fish and chips from Noggin’s Old Fish Bar, we were also treated to a show from The Deadbeats – a six-person ukulele group. With the members across all three Centres invited to each day of the celebrations, it was a wonderful opportunity to get together.

A huge thank you to Emilio Santoro, Aerospace Bristol, Noggin’s, The Deadbeats, and the folks at Blue Iris for helping us celebrate in such style. And a special shoutout to Clevedon Lions & Clevedon Inner Wheel whose generous donation paid for our lavish buffet and very own Elvis.

As always, we are hugely grateful to our amazing members, team of volunteers and staff, as well as everybody who has contributed to our Dementia Meeting Centre this past year. Here’s to more birthdays to come!

Dr Shirley Evans and Jennifer Bray visit our Dementia Meeting Centres

Last week we welcomed two special visitors to our Dementia Meeting Centre groups – Dr Shirley Evans, Interim Director of the Association for Dementia Studies (ADS), and ADS Research Assistant, Jennifer Bray from the University of Worcester. 

Speaking to our members in Bristol and South Gloucestershire, we heard how the Meeting Centre concept was brought over from The Netherlands; with there now being over 50 Dementia Meeting Centres across the UK! Our members fed back to Jen and Shirley, who is the UK’s leading expert on Meeting Centres, about how the sessions have been great for them and offer a much-needed resource for those living with dementia and their caregivers. 

In Bristol, the theme was 1960s Liverpool and our members enjoyed recalling artists such as Lonnie Donegan, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Cilla Black and, of course, The Beatles (all of whom performed at the legendary Cavern Club!). It was great to look at some wonderful Beatles memorabilia and talk about our favourite tracks. After lunch, we enjoyed a truly magical performance from Emily at Mini Concerts as she re-created the Merseybeat sound. A lovely rendition of The Beatles song “All You Need Is Love” got everyone singing along at the end of the show – which provided a very fitting finish to a great day!

South Gloucestershire 
Our South Glos members enjoyed puzzles, singing, quizzes and exercises with music – and even had the opportunity to stretch their muscles while dancing with feathers! Our late morning members engaged in an art therapy workshop where artistic talents were ignited and rediscovered. Everyone was sharing a smile and a bounce in their step as we sat down to chat about life over lunch. 

A huge thank you to Shirley and Jen for their visit, and a special shout out to the fabulous folks at Mini Concerts. If you live in Bristol, South Glos., or North Somerset and are interested in joining our Dementia Meeting Centres, please get in touch or find out more here.

Bristol: 07377 199 148 / bristolmeetingcentre@aliveactivities.org
South Glos: 07377 197 893 / sglosmeetingcentre@aliveactitivities.org
North Somerset: 07423 741459 / northsomersetmeetingcentre@aliveactivities.org